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Going To The Bathroom
Know before you go is a slogan adopted by the Mass Transit Authority (MTA) in New York to encourage New Yorkers to familiarize with MTA schedules, issues, delays and cancellations. That slogan fits perfectly in the bathroom discussion here.
Across the country, the word bathroom has suddenly become one of the most frequently mentioned and heading to the bathroom is no longer safe. The bathroom (and its surroundings) is now considered the second most dangerous location in the country (guess which is first); to align with the alert code used to communicate to the public about possible threat, the government has labeled code orange any activity (entering and exiting) in, near or in the vicinity of a bathroom; to go to the bathroom nowadays could be the most dreadful experience of your life.
You see, on Wednesday, March 23, 2015 North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory made it official with the passage of the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” that it is now legal for any resident of North Carolina to discriminate against transgender. You read correctly; it is now okay in North Carolina to harass, antagonize and report transgender to the authority if a North Carolinian spots one using the “wrong” bathroom.
Despite the outrageousness of the law, I am not making a case specifically against that law but there are enough reasons to distrust anyone individual, group or government entity deciding the fate, the behavior of another group. Mankind lacks wisdom and is much too selfish to make decisions which impact behavior or affect lifestyle of others; there is no lack of historical examples (a few discussed below) to support that argument. There are plenty of writing regarding the North Carolina bathroom; you can read about it here. Let me explain why I have no faith in mankind to make those life-altering decisions; in addition to being selfish (worth repeated) and probably because of it, society has always acted initially in bad faith against any group whose circumstances, lifestyle or behavior society fails to understand or to agree with or to accept .
For instance, – if you believe the Bible – a woman caught performing the act of prostitution would be stoned to death all the while leaving unpunished the men she prostituted herself with. It was society (a group of men, the same ones who would go to the prostitutes) who instituted a system against the women prostitutes. But if you don’t believe the bible (to be the word of God), the aforementioned example is pointless; in fact, it is a very silly example. I simply want to bring attention to the fact that even within the religious society, this type of behavior permeates.
What makes the issue at hand (the bathroom law) all the more troubling is that throughout time the government has always been accomplice to reinforcing society bias, discrimination and wrongdoing towards the group which is victimized.
It might come as a shocking revelation to some that the same society here in the United States which fought Great Britain for its freedom, to have autonomy did not find it a bit contradictory and wrong to enslave another group (the blacks). Even the Supreme Court which has the last word on everything in dispute has displayed in many occasions lack of wisdom and foresight. In the case of Dred Scott vs Sandford (1857), the Court ruled 7-2 against the slave despite the Constitution which declared that “All men are created equal.” Society cannot make the right decision.
Blacks were not the only group which suffered under mankind’s shortcoming and selfishness; women did too; they were considered unequal to (less than) men but the oppressed (or suppressed) group has always fought back to change its circumstance. One such move was the Muller v. Oregon (1908) – Oregon state law limiting women to working no more than ten hours a day – in which the Supreme Court upheld the Oregon state ruling. With its ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed (justified) gender discrimination is acceptable. Society is simply not smart enough to make the right decision.
Today, society has set its sight on a new target, the transgenders; as it’s been the case throughout history, the argument is such that the group society is against is doing (stands for/is in favor of) something that is not acceptable (by society). Preferences aside – everyone has the right, the liberty to choose a lifestyle which suits him or her – it is always dangerous whenever society errs to dictate how a group is to behave.
In addition to the aforementioned examples (slavery, women’s rights), there are countless other examples in history which should give pause to any civilized society when it comes to this matter. And yet in the midst of the 21st century society – supported by the government – is again dictating which behavior, which lifestyle is appropriate. Never mind that society has not learned from the past! Never mind society selfishness is deafening! It is the hypocrisy which is sickening. It is not society’s behavior that I dread however, it’s the government’s. It is the government which has always condoned and yes even supported the injustice done by society to one group or another. It is the government which has served as an accomplice to society’ most outrageous behavior that I dread; it is the government which is supposed to protect all but chooses to suppress some that I dread.
It is for that reason, and probably for that reason alone that I urge each and every American NOT to abide by the bathroom law; it is for that reason you too should stand up against the North Carolina “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act”. Your lifestyle preferences must not dictate how others should live, for sooner or later you too might have to fight against submitting to others’ preferences. How fair would that be?
I don’t care much for anyone’s lifestyle (straight, gay, transgender, etc.) but I do cherish the freedom each and everyone of us is allowed to enjoy. Freedom is not a favor to give to some and withhold from others; it is a collective right, but true freedom can only exist if we are all willing to fight for the rights of even those we disagree with.
Society’s decision towards any group must be fraught with utmost suspicion at best, ignored completely especially if such decision impacts any group in a negative way. The Bathroom Law is such.